The Surrey Hills has some of the most beautiful countryside in England. The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers a large part of the county. It is a patchwork of countryside stretching across from Farnham in the west to Oxted in the east and includes the highest point in southeast England – Leith Hill (294m)– and famous beauty spots such as Box Hill, the Hogs Back, and the Devil’s Punch Bowl. The large areas of sandy lowland heath found in Surrey are scarcer than rainforests. There are 4 national Nature Reserves, and Surrey Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty cover 25% of the county.
73% of Surrey land is green belt, and it offers extensive walking routes and cycle trails, open commons, ancient hollow lanes, rivers and lakes, breathtaking views and picturesque old market towns and villages. England is unique for having lots of public rights of way; there are 3,444 kms of Rights of Way footpaths across the Surrey Countryside!
Explore on foot the rolling chalk downs, rich grasslands, narrow river valleys, ancient woodlands and beautiful wildflower meadows – the Surrey Hills countryside is the ideal place for you to revitalise your senses by exploring what the countryside has to offer. Take the opportunity to connect with nature, enjoy the outdoors, spend time exploring.
Cycling in Surrey is breathtaking. The steep hills offer great views, the twists and turns of little lanes and the numerous picturesque villages you pass through on your way have all added to make Surrey the perfect place for cycling in the South East. With the rise in e-bike sales, getting up the steep hills have made cycling an even more attractive option. You get that e-smile on your face when you reach the top of a hill! E-bike hire is another option for a great day out sightseeing around pretty, quaint Surrey Hills villages and hamlets, and along stunning forest tracks.
Nature immersion, mindfulness, stillness, wellbeing are all buzz words being bandied about post-covid lockdown. Universities are doing studies on the benefits of being in nature. Neuroscientist Professor Shane O’Mara has written a book ‘In Praise of Walking’, what happens in our brain when we are out walking in nature, and why it’s good for us. New local business Lovethesurreyhills has a passion for the outdoors and for introducing people to the stunning forests and hills around us. Owner, Annelize Kidd, is taking people on 3-hour nature immersion walks. Standing yoga is practised, mindfulness and stillness. She tells me she has had only 5* reviews so far.
“People love getting close to nature, hearing the sounds, smelling the scents, touching tree bark, maybe even hugging trees. I help identify plants and fungi — it’s been great fun checking out the abundance of different fungi we’ve had this autumn! I help people take great pictures, guiding them on how best to frame a view.’’
Lovethesurreyhills also offers eco-friendly cycling sightseeing tours around the many pretty Surrey Hills villages and hamlets (e-bikes are recommended). Special events are being offered (great as Christmas gift experiences), such as 2-hour walks with plant identification, and mobile phone camera tuition and photography practise. She hopes to soon add bird call identification walks.